Jul. 26, 2022

Interns Spotlight 2022

Our team enjoyed mentoring and working with a fantastic group of interns this summer. This young group comprised six members across five departments: Lily Lancaster, Accounting; Joey McKinney, Operations Division; Ryan Kershaw, Sales; Kieran Kershaw, Sales; Hayden Seaman, Logistics; and Fatima Lopez, Marketing. Joey, Ryan, Kieran, and Hayden all study business at Washington State University. Lily is majoring in accounting at the University of Washington, and fellow Husky Fatima is studying communications and American ethnic studies. During this eventful year, we appreciated their eagerness to learn and assist our teams in their daily operations.

Having all grown up in the tree fruit industry and having family involved in it, they were excited to work in the internal side of the industry that most people do not see. Kieran and Ryan's family settled in Naches six generations ago and started Superfresh Growers. Both have worked summers here throughout high school and college and got a head start on the inner workings of the tree fruit business. On this topic, Kieran states, "My grandfather and dad introduced me to the industry, and many people at Superfresh Growers have helped me to grow my education on it." When asked about working in fresh produce, Joey says, "it blew my mind learning how much thought and care goes into something as simple as a piece of fruit." Fatima, who has previously worked in other orchards, said, "it is nice to see that the 'corporate' side of the company is so in tune with the agricultural side of things; it shows the effort and expertise they carry throughout their job."

This year, Kieran and Ryan are working as sales assistants, entering data in the system for orders and coordinating with transportation to ensure our fruit gets delivered safely and on time. Lily is helping keep the company's financial side in check; she keeps up with invoicing, creating cash receipts, composing internal accounts, and helping with receivable and payable accounts. Joey makes sure our Apple orders are packed correctly and on time. As the cherry season came around, he switched roles towards allocating orders and verifying that our inventory was not oversold. Transportation coordination is the main task Hayden is assisting with; his days consist of communicating with dispatchers, truck drivers, and other co-workers to send deliveries on time and, as he puts it, "all while remaining fresh." Lastly, Fatima works alongside the marketing team, assisting with multiple presentations and digital marketing campaigns, putting together customer thank-you items, and consolidating sales contact information.

When asked what this internship meant to them, they all responded with excitement about it being their first experience in the career they were pursuing. Ryan further discussed the internship opportunities "[to] develop and prove to others you might have what it takes to take on more responsibility in the future beyond your internship duties." Hayden was also excited about the relationships he acquired while here, citing the importance of having knowledgeable connections. These connections they made throughout the summer were an overwhelming highlight of their experience; Lily says, "I think that there is a lot of camaraderie among employees." Kieran and Ryan stated their most memorable parts of the job were meeting with international customers for dinner and learning about the industry from their team managers. Fatima highlighted attending a charity golf event and meeting some customers as two of her most notable experiences.

Besides the technical skills they learned that specifically apply to their careers, they also noted the lessons they will use daily. Hayden was grateful to have been exposed to different types of leadership, stating, "I could utilize what they've shown me to craft my methods/techniques." Problem-solving was part of Joey's and Fatima's main takeaways; they discussed the importance of having multiple idea inputs and proposed solutions to work more efficiently as a team. Ryan stated that seeing the hard work everyone puts in and how it translates into respect made him more humble and patient. Finally, Kieran focused on the relationship skills he developed here, which he will apply to his daily life.

From left to right, Kieran Kershaw, Hayden Seaman, Fatima Lopez, Lily Lancaster, Joey McKinney, Ryan Kershaw

This group is highly active. Many enjoy exercising by doing workouts, such as Ryan and Fatima, or doing recreational activities, like Hayden hunting or Lily hiking. Hayden also enjoys traveling and experiencing new lifestyles and cultures. You’ll find Kieran and Joey on the green, trying to get some holes in some. Fatima also likes to spend her time collecting sneakers and playing or watching basketball. Ryan loves a slower day when he reads a good book, watches a movie, or listens to a podcast. They enjoy spending time with their families and friends outside of work.

After college, they all have different sets of goals they want to achieve in their lifetime. Lily hopes to work in public accounting, transition towards non-profit work or the FBI, and eventually start a family. Joey hopes to work in something he is passionate about and brings him happiness; he also aims to work in an environment surrounded by others with similar ambitions. Ryan hopes to work in the family business as the 6th generation of Superfresh Growers, travel, and eventually raise a family. Kieran aims to find the part of the Superfresh Growers business he is most passionate about and work at this successful company doing something he enjoys. Hayden takes a more straightforward approach to his goals, focusing on what he can control while aiming to operate or own a business at a high level eventually. Lastly, Fatima looks forward to traveling after university, obtaining a job that does not feel like work, and eventually transitioning toward community event management.

We are incredibly grateful to have had this wonderful group of interns and everything they could help us with during this memorable year. Thank you for letting us pass on our knowledge to the future generation.